HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER: 3OTH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
- RELEASE DATE: Now Available on Blu-ray (Click Here to Purchase a Copy)
- WRITTEN BY: Richard Fire, John McNaughton
- DIRECTED BY: John McNaughton
- STARRING: Michael Rooker, Tracy Arnold, Tom Towles
Reviewed by Shane Migliavacca
This review isn’t going to be all shits and giggles. I’m a morbid person, but a film about a serial killer based on a real life person…well I don’t see much opportunity for comedy, so sorry if the review is a little dry.
Henry is a drifter and serial killer; traveling across the country leavening death in his wake. Eventually he ends up in Chicago where he shares an apartment with a friend he met in prison, namely Otis, a drug dealer and all around sleaze ball. Trouble comes in the form of Becky, Otis’ younger sister who stays with the duo while on the run from her abusive husband. Ol’ Becky immediately takes a liking to Henry as they bond over a game of cards and share stories of their abusive childhoods. Soon Becky gets a job leaving plenty of time for Henry to teach Otis how to kill, as one does.
The two go on a killing spree, eventuality pair murdering an entire family whilst video taping it. They sit in their apartment later replaying the tape; Henry coldly watching and Otis visibly excited by it. Soon small rifts start to develop between the pair, culminating in their video camera getting broken and the two having an argument.
Time passes and Becky plans on heading back home to take care of her daughter. To celebrate she and Henry go out to dinner and later at the apartment she makes advances towards Henry. He gets confused and upset over this, as a drunk Otis comes home…murder biz ensues.
Very loosely based on the real life exploits of Henry Lee Lucas, this is a hard film to review. There’s a cold, almost documentary style feel to the film. There’s no humor, unless it’s of the pitch black variety. We’re not given clear cut “good guys” and “bad guys.”; we’re presented with Henry, shown what he does and that is that. In many films like this we’d cut away at some point to cops investigating the murders, trying to crack the case and what not, but not here. We stay with Henry The whole time; this is his story and we’re his silent accomplices.
Being that this is a 30th Anniversary release, Dark Sky Films does it up by offering a shit ton of features on this blu-ray (Seriously, how the hell did they fit them all?). You get: In Defense of Henry: An Appreciation , Henry vs MPAA: A Visual History , Henry at the BBFC: An Interview With NIGHTMARE USA Author Stephen Thrower , It’s Either You or Them: An Interview with Artist Joe Coleman”, “In The Round: A Conversation with John McNaughton”, Portrait: The Making of Henry , Deleted Scenes & Outtakes, An interview with John McNaughton from 1998, the film’s original Trailer, the 30th anniversary trailer, a still gallery, and storyboards. Simply put, this is a fantastic release.
If your interested in the dark side of humanity or in low budget horror that pulls no punches I recommend Henry very highly.